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Teddy bears, dolls shown love in Marietta

MARIETTA – Teddy bears, dolls and accessories of every description filled the Lafayette Hotel’s ballroom Sunday during Marietta’s 22nd annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show.

“It’s winter and there’s not a lot to do, so this is the perfect time for a doll show,” said collector Lisa Hall, of Marietta, as she sorted through a doll display with 7-year-old granddaughter Lydia Hall.

They were among several hundred people who attended Sunday’s event.

“I’ve probably collected more than 100 dolls over the last 25 years,” Lisa Hall said. “I just look for whatever appeals to me. But Lydia has collected more than 70 Barbie Dolls.”

Lee Beaumont and Charlotte Coppage traveled from Morgantown to Marietta for the show.

“It’s very nice and there’s a lot of variety,” Beaumont said. “You can also find a lot of accessories like doll clothes, shoes – even furniture.”

Coppage said the event also provides an opportunity to learn more about the dolls both women collect.

“We especially like Indian dolls,” she said. “But we also always enjoy staying here at the Lafayette each year.”

Daniel Coe, of Fleming, brought his family into town for breakfast, but ended up at the Teddy Bear and Doll Show where his daughter, Danielle, 9, found a set of troll dolls to add to her collection.

“I’ve been collecting them for about three years now – I like the different colors of hair,” Danielle Coe said. “And I think the doll show is pretty cool.”

Anna Vukovic, director of volunteer services for the Marietta Memorial Health System, is the event coordinator.

“We have a good turnout for this year’s show – people were waiting at the door when it opened at 10 a.m.,” she said. “And by noon we already had 100 in attendance.”

Vukovic said the typical turnout is about 300 people.

“That includes many of our loyal followers as well as some new faces every year,” she said. “And we have more than 40 vendors from five different states in attendance.”

The event generally raises around $1,000 annually to benefit the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund.

“We try to keep the admission price low so everyone can attend,” Vukovic said. “And all of the proceeds go into the teddy bear fund that allows us to provide teddy bears for children and even some adults who are hospitalized.”

She said the stuffed toys help make young patients more comfortable in an often confusing hospital setting.

“A warm, fuzzy bear is something they can understand,” Vukovic said.

Teddy bear and doll expert Ken Yenke, of Strongsville, Ohio, agreed.

“A study done in London, England, about three years ago showed the natural properties of wool (from which many teddy bears are made) help release endorphins in people that contribute to better sleep and relaxation,” he said.

Yenke also noted that teddy bears, originally introduced in 1905, have outsold other toys every year from 1907 through 2012.

“I was really surprised to hear that, considering all the high-technology toys we see on the market today,” Vukovic said.

Margaret Van Ness, from Stockport, had Yenke evaluate a Plum Peas Doll, made by the Uneeda Doll Co. in 1967.

“A friend gave me this doll as a gift a few years ago, and (Yenke) placed the current value at between $25 and $50 – so she really was a good friend,” Van Ness said.

She said a crack had developed in the doll’s neck, but Susan Reynolds, a doll restoration artist from Caldwell, was able to repair the defect

Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Restoration, was among the vendors at Sunday’s show. She’s been restoring bisque dolls and figurines for more than 15 years.

“I can make a new hand, a new arm – just about anything for dolls,” she said. “I repair all types and sizes of figurines, too, working freehand, without casting molds.”

Next to Reynolds’ display, George and Joy Hausmann of Bay City, Mich., offered a variety of dolls, clothing, and spare parts.

“We’ve been attending this show for about seven years now,” George Hausmann said. “We sell antique dolls and dresses, and parts – some things that may be missing from a collector’s doll- even doll eyes.”

He opened a box that contained several sizes of glass doll eyes.

Joy Hausmann said the most collectible dolls currently date from the 1950s and earlier.

“I think a lot of baby boomers are renewing connections with their childhood,” she said, adding that their business, Joy Hausmann Dolls, has customers from all over the world.

“We sell into countries like Russia, Europe, Australia and Japan,” Joy Hausmann said. “And we participate in doll shows all over this country every month.”

Asunta Damron, owner of the My Favorite Things shop on Front Street in Marietta, had some of her Lloyd Middleton Dolls on exhibit during Sunday’s show.

“We make the dolls at our store, and have started a new line of ‘Faith’ dolls,” she said. “The first five dolls in the series are named Faith, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.”

Damron said values was the idea behind the new doll line.

“There seems to be such a lack of values in our society today, so we wanted to provide something that would help,” she said. “Each doll comes with a gold cross pin and a story that teaches a different type of value.”